How to Make Natural Food Coloring

How to Make Natural Food ColoringConventional food dyes are petroleum-based and are linked to such things as hyperactivity in children, increased food sensitivities, and even rashes and eczema, it’s more and more important to know how to make your own homemade food colouring. Artificial colourings have been linked to brain tumors and bladder cancer, and affect everything from allergies to attention span. They’re wreaking havoc on our kids, and yet they’re totally unnecessary. So the next time you find yourself reaching for that little bottle of food colouring, why not try some of these alternative ideas instead? Every single one of them is baking-friendly, so your birthday cake will be just as beautiful, and your body will really thank you.


You have a number of options but for making a food colour with no taste, beets are your best bet. Use the juice from the canned kind, or make your own by either boiling or juicing the raw vegetable. Alternately, you can also use any red fruit, like raspberries or pomegranate. Just know that these may change the flavour – which can be a great thing! These flavoured colours can make a great cupcake!


Carrots can be used to achieve this colour. Citrus may seem promising, but it doesn’t lend much colour. Stick to carrots and you’re sure to be pleased. Just juice them (or buy fresh carrot juice), and don’t worry about the flavour. Carrots are naturally sweet!


Both saffron flowers and turmeric powder will create that sunny, summery hue. These are each intensely-coloured spices, so a little goes a long way. Saffron anthers and turmeric powder can be mixed with water to achieve the desired colour and can be mixed with any foodstuff you want.


Spinach can be a great option to impart a green colour to any of your foodstuff. It also does not add ant flavour! You can use juice, or you can even use the whole leaves. Another option for that emerald tone involves a “health food” supplement called chlorophyll. Liquid chlorophyll is available in most alternative markets and is quite inexpensive. Besides it’s purported health benefits, it’s a great option for natural food colouring. Powdered green tea/ matcha powder and parsley juice can also be used.


Blues and purples can be a bit harder, but they certainly are possible. Blueberries and blackberries can be used in the same process as described above (for other berries, under “Pink and Red”). Red cabbage can be used to make both purple and blue food colouring. Slowly stir in baking soda, a bit at a time. It will react with the cabbage juice and produce a perfectly pretty blue hue. And as an alternative, you can use natural food dye in a savoury recipe. Remember, food dye isn’t reserved just for sweets and treats!


Brown colour can be made by using coffee grounds, heavily steeped black tea and cinnamon. Coffee grounds and cinnamon can be boiled in water to achieve the brown colour. Plus, it also imparts and amazing flavour; perfect for coffee spiced cupcake! For the black colour, black cocoa powder, activated charcoal powder or black squid ink can be used. Activated charcoal powder is safe to eat and is also beneficial!

These food colours would be a bit paler, more-pastel than the commercial food colours. It is best if you experiment, play around with quantities and combinations, add a little at a time, and always taste as you go. Happy food colouring J

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